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#57235 Thu Dec 16, 2021 4:15 PM
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Someone said, "Fallen man is Totally or Utterly depraved. In other words, he CANNOT be worse. Everything without exception that fallen man does is sin in they eyes of God.
Fallen man is a corrupt tree bringing forth nothing but corrupt fruit.
This is contrary to the teaching by the well known Calvinists who say man is NOT as bad as he can be.
They are WRONG. If everything fallen man does is sin, then he can’t be worse. The compromising Calvinist does not realize the doctrine is about ROOT and not FRUIT."

This seems to be saying that the primary manifestation of sin is not in heinous acts, such as murder, etc, but in self-righteousness which is an act of the heart.

HOWEVER

This view does not take into account the fact that God is omnipotent and has ordained all that happens. He puts boundaries or limits to man's depravity and does not allow him to be UTTERLY depraved otherwise there would be complete chaos.

This topic can be confusing so clarity is welcomed.


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I am stealing from a wonderful article by John Gerstner "TULIP" and in his introductory paragraph states: "Total Depravity

When man first sinned he died (Genesis 2:17). Now man is spiritually dead, not well, not sick, not even terminally ill, but dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). His depravity pertaining to all aspects of his personality is total. This is not to be confused with UTTER depravity, for there is room for deprovement. Consequently this slave of sin (John 8:34), exploits every opportunity to sin in every area of his being: in thought, word and deed, by commission and omission, and even his good works are bad (Genesis 6:5). Total depravity is our one original contribution to TULIP. We are the dirty soil in which God plants His flower, and from our filth, produces a thing of divine beauty. Those who have eyes to see will notice that the TULIP is an infralapsarian plant." (read here https://www.the-highway.com/articleDec15.html )


What more can one say? Can the man, which a holy God created as perfect (Gen. 1:31) fall any further than he did when Adam sinned? Adam's progeny have born not only the guilt of Adam's sin but his fallen nature also. Does this mean that he now expresses in his fallen nature total depravity or UTTER depravity. IF he exhibits total depravity, every thought, word and deed is tainted by sin. On the other hand, UTTER depravity means that nothing can restrain his sinful nature and so therefore, he exhibits the full unrestrained wickedness of his nature. That would require that the Omnipotent God cannot restrain his wicked deeds. These teachings sound most pious on the outside but when examined, are shown to be faulty as they limit God from creating boundaries. We see for example Abimalech kept from sleeping with Sarah after Abraham told him that she was his sister. Was it Abimalech's righteousness or was it God keeping him from sin? Gen. 20.


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Good explanation by Dr. Gerstner.
The idea of God restraining sinful man is key to our understanding.
I think that men who try to promote Total Depravity and Utter Depravity as the same thing are trying to create a following for themselves.


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1. Their modus operandi is soooooooo typical of heretics which always redefine known and established terms... but without revealing the 'switch' in definition(s). The goal is two fold: 1) appear to be orthodox and often quoting (out of context) bulwarks of the faith in support of their heresy. 2) To make it much easier to deceive the unwary and less educated in order to lure them into their 'fold'. This is nothing novel or new. It was going on even in the days of the Apostles who exposed such types in their biblical writings.

2. Where in Scripture can you find but ONE single unregenerate=totally depraved individual who loved God? who loved the law of God? who strove after holiness? who yearned to be with Christ? who gave all for the sake of the Gospel and the furtherance of the kingdom of God? Why, according to these morons (I do publicly apologize to all morons out there as that is truly insulting to them), King David was totally depraved!! drop How would it be possible for a totally depraved hater of God write the supernaturally inspired and Spirit lead Psalms? [Linked Image]

What is a true child of God to do with such enemies of God? That's easy...[Linked Image]


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I am among those who have difficulty distinguishing between total and utter depravity. In the lives of the unregenerate, probably including myself, I observe what appear to me to be both. It seems to me that people are as wicked as they could be, albeit not that God does not sovereignly restrain their deeds, and not that they necessarily always murder, rob, rape, enslave, etc., but that even the "good" deeds of the unregenerate are very, very far from being truly good in the eyes of God, and only by His Grace and Mercy do they not do things even worse outwardly speaking than they do.

Whatever is not of faith is sin, and whatever is not done for His Glory is sin; to not pray without ceasing is sin; to have an opportunity to do good, and not to do it, is sin, and so forth, and so on. Even God's own elect fall far short in all of these duties, and even such as John Bunyan noted that "[t]here is enough sin in my best prayer to send the whole world to hell," so if it is so for them, then how much infinitely more so for the unregenerate, who for the most part do not even seek faith or God's Glory or to commune with Him or to do good in His eyes?

Where am I going wrong here? I certainly don't want to. I wish for every thought, every attitude, and every action to be in full submission to God and to His Word. But I guess that on this issue I'm a little confused, and would welcome biblical correction if needed.

Also a bit confused about King David:

". . . No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15). Yet David is a man after God's own heart. (1 Sam. 13:14). And if I'm not mistaken, David kills Uriah *after* this is revealed to Samuel.

If I can reconcile this at all, it can only be by reference to:

* The Cross, where infinite Justice, and infinite Mercy, come together; and

* "Such were some of you, but . . . . " (1 Cor. 6:11); and

* "Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. " (Rom. 7:20)

Something still disturbs me about the possibility of even the elect being able to fall into such a sin as murder, though perhaps the fault is mine for not considering that things like anger and hatred and bitterness and division and may others differ from outright murder only at best in degree, but certainly not in kind.


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There is a difference between 'spiritual' good and 'relative' good. This statement is really hated by hyper-Calvinists.

1. Spiritual good: that is actually real God commanded and required good = perfect holiness/righteousness. It is to think, say and do everything out of love for God and your neighbor. Therefore, there is only one who is good, God. The incarnate Son of God was good, holy and perfectly righteous from whom the necessary righteousness required of all men is imputed to those who believe.

2. Relative good: that could be construed as an oxymoron, such as 'honest attorney', military intelligence, etc. since it is not actually 'good' as per the definition of what is really good; complete conformity to God's law from a pure heart. Yet, for lack of a better term, relative good is real, i.e., it is when someone says or does something which benefits another, e.g., giving to the poor, helping an elderly person who is in need, trying to convince someone to stop doing harm to others, etc., etc. These things are real, yet they are not in any way worthy of God's acceptance.

Thus, albeit not the most humble, kind, sacrificial believer has ever had a good thought, spoken a good word nor done a perfect deed, they are received by God due to that believer's union with Christ. Unbelievers, likewise think, say and do only evil but many do things which have relative benefit, even to believers due to God's restraining providence. It doesn't take much thought to see that the majority of people could express their sinful natures far worse. Compare yourself to Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin or any of the wicked people who committed mass genocide over the centuries. In short, although there is absolutely no true good in anyone, there is no true evil, wickedness displayed by any human being. As Christ is the epitome of good, the Devil and all the fallen angels with him are the epitome of UTTER Depravity. Mankind is conceived in sin and is TOTALLY Depraved. Be thankful for the distinction. For if man was UTTERLY Depraved the earth would be destroyed near instantly.

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That's just it.

Outwardly speaking, my deeds may not have directly led to tens or hundreds of millions of deaths.

But I certainly am guilty of holding bitterness and hatred in my heart, of calling my brother far worse things than a fool, and of many similar things. Of failing to show kindness and love to others, some of whom may as a result go on to do awful things for which I will be partly guilty as well.

And even for the murder of people's souls, through not properly sharing with them the only Gospel of the only One who can save.

Can I honestly claim to better in any sense than Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot, other than, perhaps, (a) in degree only, not in kind; and (b) solely and entirely by the unmerited restraining Grace of God?


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Originally Posted by jta
Can I honestly claim to better in any sense than Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot, other than, perhaps, (a) in degree only, not in kind; and (b) solely and entirely by the unmerited restraining Grace of God?
Sure, why not? In a 'horizontal plane' that is true. But on a 'vertical plane' no. Now, tell me who do you know that is not guilty of the things you mentioned above? scratch1 Do you think that to be a Christian there is a certain goal of holiness or righteousness which must be attained? If so, then pray tell, what would that be? On a related note, just curious if you think that the Reprobate, on the day of judgment, in their defense accuse God of being the proximate cause of their unbelief? I mean, without the grace of God worked in any individual, no one would ever come to Christ, right? Do you see the similarity to this charge against God for one's reprobation to what Adam replied to God in the Garden of Eden:

Quote
Genesis 3:11-12 (ASV) 11 And he [God] said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Oh yes, in Adam's estimation, the blame for him eating of the forbidden tree was God's fault because He created the woman and gave her to him and she used her beauty and charm to tempt him. [Linked Image]

Genesis 18:25 (KJV) 25 [Abraham said] That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?


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Along with arguing the case that totally/utterly are synonymous these men also come against:

-a general love of God for everyone
- a death (Christ's) that’s sufficient for everyone
-common grace & the well-meant offer
-synergistic sanctification

AND call everyone who doesn't agree with their hyper-Calvinism, hyper-grace, etc. lost.


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"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled" (Tit 1:15).


The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS
ATulipNotADaisy #57259 Mon Dec 20, 2021 11:53 AM
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To address a few separate points at once. And again with the hope that if on any point I am mistaken, I will be corrected from Scripture.

The "goal of holiness or righteousness which must be attained" is Christ. Obviously that is impossible apart from the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, and obviously it is not concluded in this life. But for the reprobate it is impossible at any time, for, by definition, he or she is without Christ and will remain so, and will die in his or her sins. But Scripture seems pretty clear that the believer is declared justified, and is then sanctified, and will one day be free from sin not just judicially, but in actuality, albeit not in this life.

Will reprobate blame God for their condemnation? I'm sure many will. But they are wrong. (a) It is what all people deserve; and (b) God does not need a reason nor an excuse for anything He does. He is the Potter; we are the clay, and He is as entitled to create vessels unto dishonor, as those unto honor. I have been accused of blaming God for my state, and if there is any truth to that, then shame on me; it is not because of anything lacking on His part, but because of my sin. God has been nothing but Good to me.

I'm reluctant to try to answer questions like "who else is innocent of the charges for which I (jta) admit myself to be guilty." Because I see only the actions of others, not their inward attitudes and thoughts and inner depravities that may not be outwardly expressed. Yet, I do see those in myself, and they are heinous sin, seemingly at least as wicked, but probably far more so, than my outward actions. I cannot reconcile them with the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and I therefore conclude, though with the sincere hope I am wrong, that He is not there, either because I have grieved Him, or because He was never there and therefore (Rom. 8:9) I was never His.

In others who name the precious name of Christ I do not see sinless perfection, but I do see growth over time. I see that they become more like Christ, and less like the unredeemed person they once were. I am grateful to God for this, and praise Him for it. But my own situation stands in stark contrast: I seem to only become less like Him over time, not more. frown

Finally, I should state for the record that until shown otherwise from Scripture I do hold firmly to TULIP, the Solas, the 1689 LBC, the canons of Dordt, and most importantly the Scriptures I believe are summarized by those formulae, and therefore, that:

* God's providential provision and care for all people, which He has shown me in abundance, is nonetheless something different in degree and/or in kind than His special Love for His own elect chosen from before the foundation of time;

* Nothing of any kind is lacking in the death of Christ, but, unless He was punished for the very same sins for which the reprobate will also be punished, it was effective only for the elect; (Particular Atonement);

* Even a well-meant offer will not change the heart of a person not first regenerated by Christ unto repentance and faith (John 8:44); it can be compared, though not perfectly, to offering rehabilitation to a committed drug addict, wanting him or her to accept that offer, but knowing that he or she most likely won't;

* God and God Alone gets the credit, praise, and glory for salvation, in all its aspects, including sanctification, but based on Phil. 2:12-13 and numerous other commands in Scripture, sanctification includes us working out that salvation with fear and trembling, and can therefore at least in that sense it can be said to be synergistic.

And, yes, these things get me branded as a hyper-Calvinist by some; however, I fully accept the responsibility of man both for sin in general and for repentance and faith in particular; I insist that the Gospel must be preached to every creature, for, while God knows who will and will not repent and believe, we do not, and it is both a possibility and my sincere hope that many will; I agree with what is commonly referred to as "Common Grace" although I find the name potentially misleading because the Grace which results in salvation seems to me a different thing, or at least a different degree of a thing, from that Providence which extends to all people. And also because I strongly resist the Arminian/Pelagian claim that "Common Grace" empowers equally all people to repent and to believe, making salvation in some sense their work and thereby denying God the praise and glory to which He is infinitely and uniquely due.

The label "High Calvinist" probably fits me but I think "hyper-Calvinist" goes too far, and I myself oppose hyper-Calvinism, not because it too much stresses the Sovereignty of God, but because it ignores many of His other perfections and attributes . . . a common theme among many false beliefs and heresies. I hope I am not guilty of this myself, but it is very possible that I am, and indeed I think I do tend to understand His Justice, Holiness, and Perfection, and Wrath, to a greater degree than I do His Mercy, Grace, and Love. Even though in this life I have experienced so many of the latter things, and in this life, so little of the former, though I think I will experience the former in the next.

BTW: I don't encounter many I'd call hyper-Calvinist, but in the past I have encountered a few, and, yes, many of them seemed utterly devoid of grace or love, and, ironically, behaved as though they had been elected on account of their superior knowledge and wisdom and decisionmaking skills, and that therefore all others ought to be berated for their stupidity and foolishness, rather than offered the Good News that Christ died and rose again to save sinners. I truly do hope that, though I may be as wicked as they, I at least am not so heartless nor cruel.

Last edited by jta; Mon Dec 20, 2021 12:29 PM. Reason: Because I'm dumb. :)

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Originally Posted by jta
I'm reluctant to try to answer questions like "who else is innocent of the charges for which I (jta) admit myself to be guilty." Because I see only the actions of others, not their inward attitudes and thoughts and inner depravities that may not be outwardly expressed. Yet, I do see those in myself, and they are heinous sin, seemingly at least as wicked, but probably far more so, than my outward actions. I cannot reconcile them with the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and I therefore conclude, though with the sincere hope I am wrong, that He is not there, either because I have grieved Him, or because He was never there and therefore (Rom. 8:9) I was never His.
Your negativity not measured with faith (assumed this would be your personal assessment) does not find any Scriptural support, unfortunately. The apostle Paul was much harder on himself than you appear to be, e.g., compare 1Tim 1:15 and Rom. 7:14-25. BUT, Paul did not end his lament with v. 25. No, no... he continued in the entire 8th chapter. So, what is lacking here between your lament concerning your sorry, sinful state and that of Paul's description of himself? scratchchin What is lacking in your professed situation is that Paul repented of his sins and believed savingly upon Christ. In Rom 7:1-13, we see a similar situation, but by the work of the Spirit revealing to him how wretched of an individual he was, there was no less hope in Christ. Thus, Paul being smitten with guilt and condemnation before God REPENTED and BELIEVED.

Years ago I had a similar experience with an elderly woman who was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. She too lamented that she was so sinful and confessed that she needed Christ. [Linked Image] she then said that she had prayed daily for over 50 years that God would give her a new heart so that she could repent and believe. Aha!! Does that sound familiar to you? There is no skirting around what she was doing. She put her not repenting and believing squarely upon the sovereign determination of God. I asked her that when she stands before God and facing the charge of being a wicked person, will her reply be that she really wanted to believe, but God didn't allow her to do so??? The silence was deafening. She was shown that the fault lies squarely upon her. It wasn't that God didn't make her able, but that she willed not to repent and believe. [Linked Image]


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I am to blame for my state. Not God. The reason I cannot fully express my wickedness and need for Christ is that there are not enough words nor enough time. The reason I do not continue from Romans 7 into Romans 8, though I am well aware of it (and consider it one of the most beautiful and useful chapters in all of Scripture), is that Paul is regenerate, and I am not.

An aside: I do not ask God to save me. I did, many times. I no longer do. Why? Because of what it would cost Him. How can I claim to love Him if I would ask Him to bear the punishment, not merely for the sins of all of His people, but mine, which might well outweigh the entire sum of theirs combined? If I love Him would I not wish for that horrible punishment to remain upon myself, and if I love others, would I not want His precious blood to be shed for them, and not for me?

Limited/Particular Atonement does not stop me from wishing, praying, and working for the salvation of others, albeit not nearly so much nor so well as i ought. But it does pretty much keep me from wanting my own. I cannot want it because it could only happen at the expense of His shed blood. The lake of fire is where I ultimately belong, and, even should He sovereignly choose to deliver me from it, some part of me will lament, knowing that He suffered the equivalent amount of suffering, enduring the wrath of God that I deserved but He did not, on behalf of something I consider unworthy of the very least of His thoughts. I will never understand. I will be grateful, but I will never understand. His shed blood for others? I hardly understand that. But for me? That which is of infinite worth, for that which is of none?


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After reading your response, I cannot help but be direct and even blunt. YOUR sins could ever transcend the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice. The sacrifice He was sent to do and most willingly did was grounded SOLELY on God's infinite love and will to do so in behalf of those He determined to save out of the fallen human race. The sacrifice/atonement was decreed from eternity and totally repudiates your illogical statement, which you use to justify your refusal to repent and believe upon Him: "I do not ask God to save me. I did, many times. I no longer do. Why? Because of what it would cost Him. How can I claim to love Him if I would ask Him to bear the punishment, not merely for the sins of all of His people, but mine, which might well outweigh the entire sum of theirs combined?" The Apostle Paul made the claim long before you that he was the chief of sinners. So, you are self-deceived to claim that your sins are more than all the sins of those for whom Christ died!! Is that supposed to make you appear deeply humble beyond any man who ever lived? igiveup Do you therefore believe that the omniscient GOD had no clue of the sinfulness, the depravity that was owned by everyone ever conceived? It was HE who chose fallen men to be redeemed, not the righteous who boast that they have no need of redemption.

Another silly statement you make in your last paragraph was: "Limited/Particular Atonement does not stop me from wishing, praying, and working for the salvation of others, albeit not nearly so much nor so well as i ought." Are you serious? Have you not read:
Psalms 66:18 (KJV) 18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:"
Proverbs 15:29 (KJV) 29 "The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous."
John 9:31 (KJV) 31 "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."
So, do you REALLY think that your prayers have any efficacy whatsoever with God if you believe you are eternally damned; one of the Reprobate? scratchchin

Here is what GOD says about salvation through faith in the LORD Christ:

Quote
Hebrews 7:14-25 (KJV) 14 For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
God's mercy and grace is ONLY found in Christ. If you do not desire to be reconciled to God through Christ, then you have a moral/spiritual problem which you alone own. IF you really desire to be reconciled to God then you are commanded to repent and believe on Christ.
John 5:40 (KJV) 40 "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
John 6:37 (KJV) "37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:39-40 (KJV) 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

So tell me, what legitimate excuse do you actually have to not repent and believe since God has set forth His Son as the Redeemer who is able to save ALL who come to Him in truth? To deny this truth is to accuse God of being a liar. :rolleyes1:


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Let me be equally direct, but, hopefully, not unkind. Because I'm not sure you're hearing me. Or maybe I'm not being sufficiently unclear.

Never claimed my sins were too much for God to cleanse IF He so chose. He is infinitely able. That's not in question here.

Paul's statement in 1 Tim. 1:15 can be read (and was, I believe, by Spurgeon among others) as meaning not that Paul was chief of sinners but that we are ALL to see ourselves as the chiefs of sinners.

I'm aware that God does not promise to hear the prayers of the wicked. I pray them anyway, because what I seek is the glory of God, the edification of His People, and that the lost might know Him. These are things I believe to be in accordance with His revealed will, so I pray them, as commanded, and it is up to Him whether He wishes to hear them or not.

All are commanded to repent and to believe in Christ, but only the regenerate can. All others including myself are unable to due to their sin. I have tried. I have turned away from my known sins for short periods of time, but I always turned back. I possess knowledge and assent to the Gospel, but not trust that He has saved me, because, for a million reasons including some you have correctly stated, I do not believe that He has, and certainly I don't believe He should, although He is sovereign, and what I think He should or should not do is relevant to approximately nothing.

One cannot come to Him apart from repentance and faith, and one cannot receive these gifts unless God has granted them, and drawn the person in question to Himself. The chapter you quoted (John 6) is very clear on this, and was spoken in response to people very much like me . . . religious, yet not saved.

What excuse do I have for any of my sin, including but hardly limited to my not having responded appropriately to the Good News of Christ's death and resurrection to secure a people until Himself forever?

NONE.

Not a one.

I realize that.

That is what makes me think I am not only unregenerate, but reprobate. I have heard and understood the Gospel, clearly, for my entire adult life. Yet I remain a wicked sinner. I don't think that is going to change, though I wish it would.

BTW, my Arminian/Pelagian friends have been saying almost the same as you, for decades, though with one important difference. They clearly believe and teach that salvation is up to us. Pray the magic prayer, and "accept Christ," and presto bingo, you're saved. You and our fellow Reformed at least understand that it is not about a decision. If it were, that would have been done long, long ago. Christ and Christ Alone will either save me, or not, and He gets the praise and glory either way. I made the only "choice" I am currently capable of, both in Adam, and also by my words, thoughts, and actions.


Aspiring student of Christ
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